Tom-Foolery

Tommy and Shotgun…

Were we ever that young? That’s Tom, little blonde to the left of Dan, the one with the glasses and doesn’t he look happy?

Dear Rosa,

The crows were loud this morning. Seems it’s the only sound this time of year. Most Vermonters have a hate/hate affair with this pesky, coal-black bird. Ask anyone and they’ll describe them as loud, grating, garbage-spreading nuisances. But my brother, Tommy, he would’ve described them a bit differently.

Seems he had one once as a pet.

So, Tom, I asked recently, tell me about Shotgun.

Got your pen ready, Tudes? Here we go…

It was nigh on 35 years ago, I was driving with Dad up Dole Hill. We were gonna do some partridge hunting. (I’ll edit this next part for those of you who do not condone hunting…) In the hubbub, a crow was caught by some buckshot…

Can I keep him? Poor bird had a broken wing and was flopping all over the place.

Sure, Dad said.

And why is it my father let him keep this dang creature? All I wanted was a pony for crying out loud! But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, back to the story about ANOTHER brother who got to take one home…

Why would you shoot at a crow? I had to ask.

Tom chuckled and said in that direct, forceful way of his. I was fifteen! Do you know how many red squirrels I took out? I was the Terror of the Pines…

I laughed then, but not for all those sad little squirrels, but for the imagery Tom was painting… of him, the mighty hunter, one eye cocked and listening for the savage squirrel to attack.

Named him Shotgun, he continued, because, well he was shot. By a shotgun.

Another example of how terribly uninspired my family was when it came to naming. Want more examples? More proof? Go to my post called “Quaker-Duck.” Just the name says it all…

Kept him in the basement, fed him canned corn and fresh worms I bought from the local store.

He was beautiful, I added and smart. I remember how he’d tilt his head when you talked to him, like he was trying to understand.

Yup, yup, Tom agreed, smacking his lips. He was all that.

So, what happened to him? I prompted. I remember it was cold – didn’t you take him outside or something?

Lost him to a snowball fight.

Come again?

It was winter. I had him out back in my snow fort. He was my sidekick.

Your sidekick.

Sure, sure. Steve was hunkered down behind his snow fort and I decided to rush him. I yelled to Shotgun “hold the fort” and leapt out. When I came back, he was gone.

He has a way with words, my brother, doesn’t he? I have to thank him for being brave, for admitting all the gory details of how Shotgun came to be. I have to give him props for confessing, unlike another brother of mine. One who once brought home a baby duck…

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4 thoughts on “Tommy and Shotgun…

  1. I love this story.Reminds me of when we were little taming baby racoons.It was fun but they turned on us as they got older and caused all kinds of havoc and my dad wound up SHOOTING!

    1. oh my gosh – baby raccoons, I can only imagine how much grief they gave you guys! Sad, the shooting part but isn’t that just how it goes sometimes. Hope your mom is doing well – my best to you…

  2. I think you have some deep-seated childhood issues about that pony, my dear :o) This is at least the second post that you’ve mentioned it.
    I love the conversational tone of this post–it’s so down home. Your relationship with your brother really comes through.

    1. Issues? Who doesn’t want to find an innocent little pony wandering down the road? What teenage girl hasn’t dreamed this before? Please look for future posts regarding said obsession…

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